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Top 20 Guitar VST Plugins That Sound Like Actual Guitars

Looking for that real guitar sound? Here is the ultimate Guitar VST plugin guide for 2021, an extensive mix of paid & free plugins (both acoustic and electric guitar plugins)

1. Perry Frank’s Ultimate Guitar Sounds Bundle

Perry Frank's Ultimate Guitar Bundle

GET IT NOW!

But first.. what sounds better than a guitar VST plugin? An actual guitar does.

Let us present the award-winning Ultimate Guitar Sample Bundle from Perry Frank. This is the only sample pack on the market we actually endorse, and we assure you, it’s beyond impressive.

Get this bundle before the price goes up. You won’t find a more exclusive guitar bundle pack out there.

These are samples from real guitars and are used by professional producers. It offers a full 1GB of premium acoustic and electric guitar samples (loops, one-shots, chords & more).

+ Perry Frank’s bundle works with both macOS, Linux & Windows

So if you’re serious about making music, we suggest you get yourself a copy of this one before the deal expires.

2. NI Guitar Rig 6

For this guitar VST plugin, you can opt for a free version or a paid version, depending on what features you need. But we recommend getting the full Komplete 13 suite which includes Guitar Rig 6 and many other premium plugins. With the free version, you have access to a tuner, amplifier, cabinet, two delay pedals, one tube screamer, compressor, noise reduction, two equalizers, one pro filter, reverb, a limiter, and a noise gate, volume pedal, and more. The most significant difference between the paid and free options are the number of cabinets, effects, and amplifiers you can use.

Guitar 6 is straightforward to use, even If you have no experience using VST plugins. However, with the free version, because you only have one tube screamer, you won’t be able to achieve weighty, aggressive sounds. Therefore, the paid option might be better for you.

If you choose, you can also use Guitar Rig 6 as a standalone program. One minor inconvenience of trying to use this guitar VST plugin is that you have to register before you can download it. Once you have done so, the VST plugin will send you a serial key that you must use to authenticate using the Native Access program. Next, you download that program separately. However, step up is rather easy after that, and then you can begin to create unique sounds.

New to guitars and want to make the most out of these plugins? Start with these beginner guitar lessons.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows 10 or macOS 10.14 or 10.15 (latest update)
  • 28GB of Disk Space
  • I5 CPU
  • 16GB of RAM

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

3. Ample Sound Guitar M Lite


This free plugin can emulate the sound of an acoustic guitar. It stands out from most other VST plugins because many times, they can’t come close in comparison to a real acoustic guitar. However, this plugin delivers a fantastic sound with the option to add additional effects. You can choose to double the guitar sound, helping to add width and body. If you need an acoustic guitar VST, then you should choose this one, because it sounds almost like the real thing.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, 64-bit only or macOS 10.9 or higher
  • 10GB of Disk Space
  • i5 CPU
  • 2GB of RAM

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

4. Line 6 POD Farm 2.5

The Pod Farm 2.5 Line 6 plugin is a fantastic tool for any guitarist. It comes with over 1000 presets, and you can even divide your guitar signal into two. There are tons of chains of amplifiers and effects at your disposal, allowing you to have access to even more different types of sounds. Everything can be personalized to your needs and desires.

This particular VST guitar plugin also has a wide variety of delays, reverbs, compressors, phasors, as well as the chance to use any midi controllers like wah or expression pedals with the plugin. For those who need a VST that is powerful and perfect for producing rock, pop, metal, or any other type of music, then this might be the VST guitar plugin for you.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows XP or later, or macOS 10.5 or later
  • 1GB of Disk Space
  • 2.5GHz or better, or multi-core CPU recommended
  • 1GB of RAM

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

5. TSE Audio x50 v2

For those who are looking for variety, then this could be the first VST guitar plugin to consider. It can effortlessly create crisp, bright, and clean tones, as well as heavy metal, aggressive tones. If you want, you can opt for a free version or a premium version.

In the free version, you get access to a tuner, equalizer, reverb, phaser, delay, a large number of cabinets, four distortion pedals, and more. It is easy to use VST guitar plugin that is intuitive, simple, and perfect for beginners who are looking for something to create a guitar sound.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows 7 or later or macOS X 10.9 or later
  • 15MB of Disk Space
  • Intel Core 2 CPU
  • 4GB of RAM

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

6. Ignite Amps Emissary

Another good heavy sound amp comes from Emissary. It has a clear channel that can deliver clean or overdriven sounds that are perfect for metal tones. Also included in the Emissary plugin bundle is a NadIR dual impulse response convolver, which can work as both a cabinet simulator for both guitar and bass pre-amplifiers.

Some of the features of the Emissary by Ignite Amps is three touring modes including dual mono, mono, and stereo, high-quality resampling for IRs as well as different sampling rates, selectable delay, and global input level and single IR level controls. For those who want to record whole songs from home, this is an excellent option for you.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows 7 or later or macOS 10.9 or later
  • 15GB of Disk Space
  • i7 CPU
  • 8GB of RAM

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

7. Audified ampLion Pro

This Guitar VST plugin can also work as a standalone program, depending on your needs.

Some of the features it comes with are:

· A five-channel guitar amp

· Metronome

· Two cabinets

· Audio player

· Advanced recorder

The sound that it produces is quite impressive, and you can even get clean tones out of it. You can choose between different presets before you find the one that is right for you, and you can give change the Mic Placement. Even if you opt for the free version, it gives you tons of variety and control.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows XP or later or macOS X 10.9 or later (Not guaranteed to work with macOS Catalina)
  • 50 MB of Disk Space
  • 1.5 GHz CPU
  • 16GB of RAM

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

8: Positive Grid Bias FX 2

bias fx 2 plugin

You really don’t need any other guitar plugin than this one. It’s faster, slicker, and much more fleshed out than the original Bias FX. It contains a ton of amplifiers, compressors, delays. And if that’s not enough, you can download thousands of custom pedal add-ons to customize it to your needs. Want that professional sound? Give Bias FX2 a try. We really can’t recommend it enough.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows 8 or later, macOS 10.11 or later
  • 1GB of Disk Space
  • 1.5GHz Dual core processor minimum, 2.0GHz Dual core or more recommended CP
  • 4GB of RAM minimum, 8GB or more recommended

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

9. IK Multimedia Amplitube Custom Shop

This free Guitar VST plugin has tons of features, including:

  • Three amplifiers
  • Tuner
  • Cabinet
  • Delay
  • Overdrive
  • Compressor
  • Wah-Wah
  • Chorus
  • Equalizer
  • Tremolo
  • Chorus
  • Volume Pedal

It is an excellent VST plugin that can even work as a standalone program. You can also opt for a paid version if you want to get access to even more features. However, if you are a beginner, you might choose to use the free plugin until you understand your needs and preferences better.

The main downfall of this plugin is you have to register to be able to download it. However, since it is still free to use, this is more of a minor inconvenience than a con.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10, or macOS X 10.7 or later
  • 20GB of Disk Space
  • i5 (64-bit) CPU and Operating System
  • 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended)

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

10. Shattered Glass Audio Ace

This VST guitar plugin brings together the best of the 1950s: it is tweed, all-tube, with a 5Wamp. This particular module comes with some of the most basic and standard amplifier mods. With this plugin, you can adjust the amount of feedback and grid stopper resistors. However, you can turn off both of these features if you want to get an original amp sound.

When using the Ace Vintage Tube VST guitar plugin, you quickly find out that the sound it produces is fantastic and is warm, clean, and bright. This vintage plugin is not right for people who are want to create heavy metal, but it might work if you try to use it with distortion pedals.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows XP, Windows 7, or Windows 8, or macOS 10.7 or later
  • 1.5MB of Disk Space
  • i5 CPU or equivalent
  • 8GB of RAM minimum, 16GB or more recommended

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

11. Studio Devil Amp Modeler Pro

The Studio Devil is particularly interesting VST plugin because it has a big emulation of valve amplifiers that comes equipped with more than 15 pre-amplifiers. Some of its features include full tone controls like midrange, treble, gain, bass, presence, 3 Power Amp models with drive controls. It comes with 32 cabinets that were designed by Studio Devil. This VST plugin comes with a parametric equalizer, two compressors, chorus, phasor, tremolo, delay, and reverb with three different modes, like Room, Club, and Hall. You can utilize the wah-wah effect in real-time thanks to the midi.

While this is a relatively new plugin, it comes at an affordable price and delivers a quality product that is good for anyone who wants to produce a guitar sound.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Requires a VST, Audio Units, or RTAS audio host for Windows or macOS
  • Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 or macOS X 10.7 or later
  • 16MB of Disk Space
  • 1.5GHz CPU
  • 2GB or more of RAM recommended

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

12. Overloud TH-U

This guitar plugin comes with a library filled with 239 models, making it the most extensive selection that a single plugin offers. It comes loaded with 89 guitar amps, four bass guitar amplifiers, two bass guitar cabinets, 50 guitar cabinets, 77 pedals, and effect rates, 18 microphones, and more than 1000 presets.

Overload also collaborates with multiple notable amplifier brands, including DVmark, Brunetti, THD, and Randall to help make this a VST plugin that is nearly unmatched. For music producers who want a huge variety of sounds and options, then the TH-U Overload VST plugin might be the right one for you.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 or macOS X 10.7 or later
  • 900 MB of Disk Space
  • i3 CPU 1.4 GHz
  • 4GB of RAM

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

13. SimulAnalog Guitar Suite

This VST plugin is free and does the job quite well, and it contains a few amplifiers and pedals. However, one downfall of this guitar VST plugin only works with 32bit, which means it won’t work on a 64-bit system.

The interface on this one is a little hard to figure out, but once you do, you can achieve a wide variety of sounds. You can even emulate sounds from Fender, Marshall, Univox, Oberheim, and more.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows XP, 2000, 98, 95, Me
  • 340KB of Disk Space
  • Dual 1.25GHz G4 or G5 processor
  • 1GB of RAM

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

14. Avid Eleven MK II

This VST guitar plugin comes with a vast range of amplifiers, effects, and cabinets. Thanks to this variety, it can produce a realistic, pure sound. By using the Avid Eleven MK II, you can make creative modeling techniques that sound almost like the real thing.

The Avid comes with 33 models, 33 amplifiers, ten microphones, and 15 cabinets to help you create your ideal sound. You can even try to produce the same sounds from Mesa Boogie, Soldano, Marshall, Vox, and Fender with this VST plugin.

Thanks to the customization of the Avid, It could be a good option for you. However, one drawback is that it is only compatible with the Protools DAWS.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows 7 or later or macOS 10.7 or later
  • 15GB of Disk Space
  • i7 CPU
  • 16GB of RAM

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

15. Waves GTR3

Can’t make a VST list without mentioning Waves. The GTR3 comes from a collaboration between Waves and PRS Guitars. It has all the essentials that you need to emulate the same sound from amplifiers from Vox, Fender, Marshall, Mesa/Boogie, and more. It also comes with more than 30 cabinets and 30 amplifiers.

For someone who is looking for a vintage and realistic sound, then this is the VST guitar plugin that you have been looking for.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows 10 64-bit or macOS 10.13.6, 10.14.6, 10.15.7, 11.0.1 (Intel only)
  • 8GB of Disk Space
  • i5, i7, i9, Xeon CPU
  • 8GB of RAM

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

16. Sonivox Bright Electric Guitar

If you want to emulate the sound of Strats, then this might be the VST guitar plugin for you. This one delivers a wide variety of strum patterns as well as chord types. While Stratocasters aren’t for everyone, they can produce a bright, clear tone that you might find enjoyable. The VST guitar plugin is one of the cheaper ones, but it delivers an unbelievable sound that you won’t expect.

For the price, the sounds are top-notch, and they sound very similar to the real thing. It is hard to compare it to other plugins on this list because it delivers a sound that is on par with that of a real-life strat. It also has three different velocities for both mutes and tones.

While this won’t be the right plugin for metal producers, if you want a strat sound, then this is the plugin for you. At an affordable price and quality sound production, the Bright Electric Guitar Sonivox is a good option.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU
System Requirements
  • Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 or macOS X 10.8 – 10.14 (not yet compatible with Catalina)
  • i5 or i7 CPU
  • 2GB of RAM minimum, 4GB recommended
  • Requires iLok

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

17. Impact Soundworks Shreddage 3

This VST plugin comes from Impact Sound Works and has become a popular choice for people who want to emulate a serious metal sound. It was highly anticipated, and it did not disappoint with the high tone that it produces. It is so good that you might think that you are listening to the real thing.

For creating a metal sound, this is one of the best available, and it helps deliver a bright and clean tone. The layout, in general, is straightforward to navigate and use, even for beginners.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 or macOS 10.12, 10.13, 10.14, or 10.15
  • Kontakt version 5.7 or higher
  • 6GB of Disk Space
  • i5 CPU
  • 6GB of RAM

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

18. Orange Tree Samples Evolution Rock Standard

OrangeTree can create some of the most realistic tones there are on the VST guitar plugin market. Luckily, you can choose between several different sample packs. This particular VST produces a sound so realistic; you won’t believe you aren’t listening to the real thing.

You can easily emulate guitar sounds like palm mutes, string slaps, natural harmonics, and divebombs, and you can even make guitar sounds like picking. Also included is a built-in effects engine that gives you a fantastic blues sound that feels and sounds like a real guitar is playing. Overall, it is an excellent VST plugin that won’t disappoint you.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, or macOS 10.10 or later
  • Kontakt Player 5.6.8
  • 12.54 GB of Disk Space
  • Intel Dual Core processor or later
  • 512 MB of RAM

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

19. Ample Sound Ample Guitar G II

AmpleSounds has made a name for itself for their heavy rock and metal guitar sound. If you want to emulate a Gibson Les Paul, then this is likely the VST plugin for you. When you need to produce harder rock sounds, then this can become your go-to plugin choice.

When you first use this guitar VST plugin, you might find that the sound isn’t as realistic as others on the list. However, with a few modifications, you can quickly find the right sound and tone for you. With this plugin, you can get effects like pedals, which can help you vary the sound quickly and achieve a darker chord progression than most other VST plugins.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 or macOS X 10.7 or higher
  • 6GB of Disk Space
  • Pentium 4 or Athlon processor
  • 2GB of RAM

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

20. Vir2 Acou6tics

Acoustic guitars are particularly hard to emulate, but this VST guitar plugin delivered by Vir2 sounds almost as good as the real thing. It has six different acoustic guitar sounds that you can choose between, which help make it sound more realistic than other VST plugins. You also have many different articulations you can choose from to help achieve a real sound as well. The library sound that this electric guitar has as well is fantastic, but you have to do a bit of work to get the mix right. Otherwise, it might sound too overly synthesized.

The Vir2 Acou6tics VST also has an excellent library of chord samples, which, with some work, can help you achieve a crisp and realistic sound.

Plugin Specs

Windows macOS VST AU

System Requirements

  • Windows 7, Windows 8 or macOS X 10.7.3 or later
  • Kontak Player 5 or higher
  • 13GB of Disk Space
  • Intel Core Duo 2.0GHz or higher CPU
  • 2GB of RAM

Ableton Live

Logic Pro

Pro Tools

FL Studio

Cubase

Garageband

Other DAWs

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Frequently Asked Questions about Guitar Plugins

How do I install a VST plugin?

VST plugins can be installed in several different ways, depending on your computer’s operating system and the type of file you obtain from the plugin’s creator. On Windows computers, you’ll likely come across either an installation .exe file or a .dll file. Installation files can be installed simply by double-clicking and running the installer, while .dll files can be dragged into your usual VST Plugins folder.

Mac works a little differently – you’ll either be running a .dmg file to automatically install the plugin or manually copy over the .au folder into your audio units directory (usually located in “/Library/Audio/Plugins/Components”).

Some plugins may require a serial number or activation via logging in to a service such as iLok or the plugin itself upon first loading the plugin.

How do I uninstall a VST plugin?

Uninstalling a plugin is usually pretty straightforward and the opposite of what you did to install it. On either operating system, if you dragged a file into your plugins folder, then you should just be able to delete it. If you ran an installer, then you can simply use the uninstallation tool to remove it from your system (or drag the application to the trash on macOS).

My VST plugin doesn’t work. What do I do?

Installing plugins can be a bit fiddly, so it’s not uncommon for them to not appear in your plugins list or just not work at all. If you don’t see the plugin after installation, check your DAW’s settings and see if there’s an option to refresh the plugin list. If you still don’t see it, make sure you’ve specified the correct directory for the plugin. When in doubt, reinstall the plugin and make sure to tell the installer your usual plugin folder when prompted.

Do VSTs work both for Mac and PC?

VSTs will work on Windows. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for macOS. While macOS will support VSTs, you’re going to need to make sure you download the macOS specific version of the plugin.

Do VSTs work for Garageband?

Garageband does support loading external plugins (VST or AU), which is great for beginners getting into the world of music production on macOS. Follow the steps above and make sure to download the macOS version of the plugin, and you should be good to go!

What is a MIDI guitar VST?

A MIDI Guitar VST is similar to how you’d load up a MIDI Drum VST when creating a song in your DAW. Instead of using a MIDI Keyboard or MIDI track in your DAW to trigger drum samples, you’re triggering guitar samples! Guitar VSTs are made up of thousands of these samples – “snapshots” of the sound of a guitar performed at varying velocities and positions on the neck. Often they have settings for adjusting pickups and even adding string squeak and bends.

 



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Comments

Avatar

Peter November 22, 2020 at 7:07 am

Not sure if I did something wrong, but I ordered the Perry Frank bundle and put in my phone number instead of my email. All it did was send me a link that sent me to a confirmation of my order. Will I be texted a download link since they don’t have my email, or how does this work?

Reply
Stephen Boden

Stephen Boden November 22, 2020 at 12:27 pm

Hi Peter, we are not the ones operating Perry Frank, but you could try to email them at [email protected] and they will sort you out quickly. Their support usually responds fast. I’ll also send them an email for you in case you don’t see this response.

Reply

Avatar

StevieG November 19, 2020 at 1:12 pm

#1 was amazing. Defo worth the 49 bucks

Reply
Stephen Boden

Stephen Boden November 20, 2020 at 9:47 pm

Yep, that’s my new favorite 🙂

Reply

Avatar

Alberto Garcia May 22, 2020 at 7:56 pm

Hello, very nice article. I would like to konow which one you consider the best VST plugin for guitar in terms of realism?

Reply
Stephen Boden

Stephen Boden November 20, 2020 at 9:54 pm

You can’t go wrong with the Perry Frank bundle, beats any VST we have tried in terms of sound quality. Other than that, you can’t go wrong with NI Guitar Rig.

Reply

Avatar

ASEMWA PRODUCER February 1, 2020 at 12:15 pm

how can i download them

Reply
Stephen Boden

Stephen Boden February 26, 2020 at 10:16 pm

We have included links to each plugin. You are able to download them from there. Let us know if you have any other questions

Reply

Avatar

marco January 19, 2020 at 2:37 pm

it is unlucky that you collected amp sims and virtual guitars under one topic, since it’s already difficult enough to get the difference while searching for… virtual guitars.

Reply
Stephen Boden

Stephen Boden February 26, 2020 at 10:19 pm

Thanks for your valuable feedback Marco. I will make sure to edit the article as soon as I get some time over. Or pass it on to someone else in the team

Reply
Avatar

JR August 11, 2020 at 2:47 pm

Wholeheartedly agree with this comment. Some are permanently unable to view VST:s and VSTi:s as two different concepts.

Reply

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